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benedict will be staying at castel gandolfo. it's been a retreat for popes for several centuries now. a monastery in the vatican garden is being renovated as a permanent home for him it's a 8,600 square fight complex. renovations have been in the works since november and expected to be completed in the spring. his longtime housekeepers will join him. our special edition of "early start," the pope's last day continues right now. >> our special coverage continues right here on cnn. >>> history in the making. pope benedict xvi about to carry out the last chaj of his papacy meeting one by one with the cardinals who will choose his successor and he might be face-to-face with the next pope in just a few minutes on this last day on the throne of st. peter. good morning. welcome to this special edition of "early start." i'm john berman. >> and i'm zoraida sambolin. we'd like to welcome our viewers from around the world on cnn international. it's the top of the hour, thursday, february 28th. we are witnessing history in the making. no one alive has ever seen a sitting pope step down. >> it is
benedict xvi making his final official speech to the public before stepping down just over 24 hours from now. at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow, he becomes the first pope in centuries to resign. and he's leaving behind a vatican really at a cross roads. the catholic church facing difficult challenges and also opportunities as it moves forward. now, as i say, usually when there's a transition and we've covered it so many times, well, not so many times, but the last one i was here, and that was because a pope died. john paul ii died after living his last years infirmed and in visible pain. now we have a transition, we have a living pope. you're not watching a funeral before the next pope is elected. you're not watching the world's heads of state come here to pay their respects to the departed pope. you're seeing a much different kind of transition. john al whlen, what is pope benedict going to do the rest of the day? >> normally the wednesday audience, the pope gives religious instruction rooted in scripture. but today i would imagine that knowing the momentous nature of what's happening, it's probabl
. >>> we do have breaking news this morning. shocking news, really. pope benedict xvi isresigning. a spokesman will not reveal way. fatigue and possibly declining health over the past year, but, again, no reason has been given. he became pope in 2005. you will remember, he had been joseph rat singer, cardinal, a major figure at the vatican for years before he became pope benedict. german born. been pope for nearly eight years. nearly eight years and this is just a major, major bit of news this morning. coming out of the vatican, again, cnn confirming the pope will step down on february 28th, which is just a little over two weeks from today. >> and no clear reason. we're trying to get more details to share those with you. this is shocking. this is shocking, absolutely shocking. we'll continue to watch the developments for you, folks. 6:00. the painstaking cleanup getting under way after a violent tornado ripped through mississippi tearing apart homes, businesses and even causing damage to a university campus. a storm chaser occasi e er -- l. capture these images. this is 100 miles
. >> new identity. more work tomorrow. >> thanks. c "cnn newsroom" continues after this. >>> pope benedict xvi last week at the vatican, no short of drama, of course. a cardinal from scott atlanta now resigning over inappropriate behavior. >>> and the reports of blackmail, sex parties and abuse. >>> they were out sailing but their boat reportedly sank. four people, including two young children, are missing. the search off the coast of california. >>> and he is now back in the spotlight. notre dame linebacker manti te'o, he's asking nfl teams, judge his skills, not his personal life. this is "cnn newsroom," i'm suzanne malveaux. >>> 35 million americans dealing with a crippling blizzard, a winter storm from colorado to texas. second major storm to hammer the region in a week. so, this is what it looks like. in is amarillo, texas, whiteout conditions now closing roads, even forcing the state to pull its snowplows off the roads. emergency crews having some trouble actually reaching stranded drivers. in wichita, texas -- kansas, rather, schools are closed for a third day. parts of the city cou
will talk about how this could impact oscar pistorius's murder case. >>> and today was pope benedict xvis a -- last public prayer before he retires. the vatican is strongly denouncing italian media reports that gay priests at the vatican were being blackmailed by male prostitutes. i will speak to a journalist who covers the vatican later on this hour. >>> back in this country, a winter storm is slamming colorado right now. forecasters say denver could get up to ten inches of snow. the storm moves on to the plain states tomorrow and in the northeast, it's a pretty messy weekend there as well. this is what manchester, new hampshire, looks like. lots of wet, heavy snow. about 6,000 homes and businesses are now without power. >>> hollywood heavyweights are getting red carpet ready for the oscars. the 85th annual academy awards gets under way about three hours from now. and this year could be one for the record books. we will explain why in just a few moments, live from hollywood. >>> all right. back to daytona. can danica patrick race her way to victory lane? that's the question of the hour a
point" begins right now. >>> welcome, everybody. pope benedict and his final public farewell. 1.2 billion catholics, making his last public appearance in st. peter's square, telling tens of thousands of followers his decision to step down comes with a deep peace of mind. >> translator: i have taken this step in full awareness of the gravity, seriousness and a profound serenity in my soul. >> chief international correspondent christiane amanpour joins us live from rome this morning. >> reporter: good morning, soledad. pilgrims streaming out of st. peter's square behind me, where they gathered several hours ago for the final public audience by pope benedict xvi. he did something rather unprecedented for these what are weekly audiences. he toured around the square in his pope mobile and tens of thousands of people inside the square got a first-hand look at him. lots of waving, lots of cheering, and he delivered his blessing and talked about what it maend to take the step, you just heard him say he understood the enormity of this, the gravity of it, and the novelty of it, this is in
. awesome. get the grappling hook to... dad, i... no? ok. >>> if benedict the xvi was hoping for a quiet end to a sometimes turbulent papacy, it is obviously not to be. just four days before the pope's own resignation takes effect, we learned the only catholic cardinal in britain, keith o'brien, seen here, keith o'brien of scotland, has also resigned and won't be taking part in the conclave to choose pope benedict's successor. a british newspaper is saying that three priests and one former priest have accused o'brien of, quote, inappropriate relationships dating back to the 1980s. he denies that, and he was due to step down anyway because of his age. but he was also expected to gather in rome this week, or next, with his fellow cardinals. and if anybody thought the church's scandals would end when a new pope was chosen, that is not to be either. the pope today decided that a top-secret vatican report on the document leak, remember that document leak that was blamed on the pope's butler? well, it's a report that he and only he is supposed to have seen. but it is supposed to be left to his suc
about the future and what it holds for pope benedict xvi, final week cloud by scandal. >> the dow rallying from yesterday's big loss but not so for world markets. italy's election causing uncertainty. the government, europe's third largest economy, facing a deadlock. >>> egypt, tourists flying high above ancient egyptian sites plunging to their deaths when a hot air balloon explodes and crashes. >> 18 people have died. the local government has banned all other hot air balloon flights for now. it happened in luxor. the latest on the investigation. >> ian, let's start with what the theory is at the moment. there are reports of a gas cylinder exploding. describe what you've heard. >> reporter: well, michael, that's exactly what ware we're hearing. an the 1,000 feet a gas canister on the balloon exploded sending the balloon tumbling towards the ground. this comes from multiple reported from eyewitnesses. also eyewitness accounts that people were jumping out of the balloon as it tumbled toward the earth. right now we're hearing 19 people have been killed. this includes tourists from eu
's get you to vatican city and pope benedict's farewell tour. in it he thanked the faithful there their prayers and called for prayers for the next pope, as well. this is one of the last public appearances he's going to make. on the other end, though, it's audition day for some of his possible successors. so, the end maybe of his reign and beginning of another. speaking to congregations around the world today. right now from rome ben wedemen. let's start with pope benedict, ben. how will he spend his last 11 days as pope? >> well, we know that once he's done with this angelus mass he will go into a lenten retreat for a week. this is one of the normal rituals of the lenten period that leads to, of course, easter. during that time, he will be in this retreat when prayer and contemplation with other leading bishops and cardinals. now, it's important to keep in mind that the election for the pope is not like the election in most places. it's a very solemn affair and the cardinals, the bishops, they talk about the qualities they would like to see in a pope. but it's very bad tast
, soledad. breaking news as pope benedict xvi entering his final days as leader of the catholic church, britain's top cardinal, keith o'brien stepping down. this following accusations that o'brien abused young men studying for the priest hood and amid italian media reports that the pope is stepping down due to a vatican involving priests and male prostitutes. becky anderson is live with more. good morning, becky. >> they say a week is a long time in politics, but an hour is a long time in politic there. there is a news briefing going on for journalists as we speak. i'll get you as many of the lines out of that as i can. bombshells coming sort of right, left and scepter this morning out of vatican. let's start with that breaking news on the top brit tissue cardinal. cardinal keith o'brien who has resigned. the pop has declared that today. we are told he talked about his resignation to the pope back in november. he was of ailing health and at 75 he thought he should go. but his resignation hasn't been announced, nor was it going to be until his birthdate on march 15th. as of today, the t
kaye. i want to start with you in vatican city for a beginning and end of sorts here. pope benedict xvi is residing from st. peter's square right now. this is one of the last appearances he will make as pope. on the other end of the spectrum it is audition day for some of his successors. joining me now from rome cnn international correspondent ben wedemen. ben, i want to start with pope benedict. how will he spend his last 11 days now as pope? >> well, right now what we see is a much larger crowd that he's addressing in st. peter's square. numbers as high as 150,000 people on a normal sunday it wouldn't be even half that number. now, he's going to give this angelus prayers and address the faithful in a number of languages. right now in italian but also be speaking with them in english, polish, german. also today, however, he's going to go into a week of retreat for the period of lent and during that time he will be meeting in prayer and contemplation with many senior bishops and cardinals and, obviously, when that week comes to an end he will resume his normal activities, which include
in a couple of minutes. >>> want to get you to vatican city and pope benedict's farewell tour. he spoke in several languages in st. peter's square and he got to spanish and thanked the faithful in the wake of his decision, of course, to resign and asked for prayers for the next pope as well. this was a larger than usual crowd for the weekly prayer by the pope, because it's one of his last scheduled public appearances before he leaves the vatican at the end of the month so the day after he leaves the cardinal of colleges is expected to pick his successor and coming up at the half hour, we want to take a closer look at you with the intrigue and secrecy with the church as well as hollywood's obsession with the vatican. think about all the movies that come out about it. >> we are now hearing from jess jess jr.'s family just a day after his details of his plea bargain went public. jackson admitted to using campaign funds for personal expenses, such as a $43,000 watch and apparently some fur coats. his brother talked about jackson's health and how he's handling recent events. >> still under a
false would if italian publications claim pope benedict decided to resign the same day he received an explosive report on a gay lobby lurking in the vatican. cnn's senior international correspondent ben wedeman is in rome. >> they are blasting in uncharacteristically strong terms, fredricka, are these reports, reports that appeared in a daily newspaper, "la repubblica" and a week live magazine panorama which suggests that indeed this group of three cardinals who were assigned by pope benedict to look into wrongdoing in the vatican found or allegedly uncovered, according to these publications a network of gay priests within the vatican who were being blackmailed according to these reports by a network of male prostitutes in rome. now, the vatican is roundly denying that these reports taking place, accusing the italian media of trying to influence the conclave, that group of 116 cardinals who will be meeting in the next few weeks in rome or rather in the vatican city to elect the next pope. fredricka in. >> in general, are people taking this report seriously throughout rome, or is th
in this morning for randi kaye. last hour, pope benedict xvi gave his final angelus prayer in front of a massive crowd and also included a personal message. we heard him tell the crowd that he's not abandoning the church and that he's going to spend more time praying and meditating. ben wedemen is at st. peter's square at vatican city. ben, how are people reacting there? >> people are reacted very positively. we had well over 100,000 people in st. peter's square and the area around it, the city of rome had provided additional security, additional buses to bring the people here. there were pilgrims from all over the place. we heard the pope addressing the people in st. peter's square in italian and french and spanish and portuguese and spanish. a very large crowd. when he finished his address in all those language, a very loud applause to pope benedict. he only has five days left before he officially steps down as pope at 8:00 p.m. on the 28th of february. susan? >> ben, are people speculating more about why the pope is resigning? i know he said it has something to do with his health, but there i
in johannesburg for us. thank you. >>> the vatican is slamming media reports in italy about why pope benedict decided to resign. two publications say it happened the same day the pope received a bombshell. 300-page vatican dossier documenting homosexuality in the priesthood. ben wedeman joins us from rome. the vatican says this is an attempt by the italian media to influence the upcoming conclave. walk us through this. >> reporter: basically this goes back to the december 17 when three cardinals who were assigned by pope benedict to investigate wrongdoing in the vatican presented him with a 300-page red-bound dossier which included information, according to these two publications, "la republica," a daily newspaper, and "panorama," a weekly magazine, suggesting that there was a network of gay priests within the vatican who were being blackmailed by a network of male prostitutes outside the vatican in the city of rome. the vatican has come out with an uncharacteristically strong statement saying that these "unverified, unverifiable, or false news reports" are damaging to people and institutions
will hear arguments next month. >>> pope benedict xvi will give its angelus prayer when he gives a blessing in front of a crowd. cnn will be airing live when it happens tomorrow morning, the 6:00 am eastern hour. the pope steps down officially on the 28th. the vatican is hoping to have a new pope in place before easter. >>> for just a moment, imagine your child has hearing loss, but you cannot afford hearing aids. more than 1.5 million kids in the u.s. live in silence because their health insurance doesn't think they're essential. cnn's george howell sat down with 7-year-old hayden mckenzie for a look at the drastic measures he and his family have taken for him to hear. >> reporter: for 7-year-old hayden mckenzie, it takes a little more time in the morning to get started. and for his twin brother, colby, it takes more patience. >> our big question of the day is, you have a hearing aid on. can you hear me? i was thinking about this last night. it felt like a cell phone commercial. can you hear me? can you hear me now? >> reporter: he started losing his hearing when he was 4 years old, a crip
benedict leaves the papacy we're finding out much more about his future. also what he'll be called. christiane amanpour is standing by in rome. if chuck hagel gets confirm what will his first few days at the pentagon look like. there's new information coming in to "the situation room" right now. [ male announcer ] when these come together, and these come together, one thing you can depend on is that these will come together. delicious and wholesome. some combinations were just meant to be. tomato soup from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. good morning, turtle. ♪ my friends are all around me ♪ my friends, they do surround me ♪ ♪ i hope this never ends ♪ and we'll be the best of friends ♪ [ male announcer ] introducing the reimagined 2013 chevrolet traverse. all set? all set. with spacious seating for up to eight. imagine that. chevrolet. find new roads. i honestly loved smoking, and i honestly didn't think i would ever quit. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. it put me at ease that
it rapid fire. roll it. >> pope benedict presided over his last ash wednesday service today. this was his first public appearance since announcing his plans to resign at the end of the month. speaking earlier to those gathered in a vatican city audience hall, the pope explained what was behind his decision. >> having summoned before god my cautions, fully aware of the gravity and seriousness of such acts but also aware that it is not adequate for me to continue if i don't have the strength that it requires. >> pope benedict's final days as pope is february 28th. >>> an accused boston gangster whitey bulger says he got immunity to commit crimes and kill people while he was an fbi informant. a judge is hearing arguments on his immunity claim today as 83-year-old bulger wants to use it as his defense in his upcoming trial on a racketeering indictment accusing him of participating in 19 different murders. prosecutors say his immunity claim is here, and i'm quoting them, absurd. stay with me. next hour i'll talk live with the guy who is co-writing bulger's biography, including all these detail
. >>> so one week from today, the roman catholic church will be without a pope. pope benedict xvi is resigning. cnn's brian todd is here in "the situation room" with more. so what happens in the interim. he resigns before a new pope is elected? >> that's right. the game of who's in charge and who's next is in full swing. the vatican is being opaque right now but we do know of some key players to watch. it's palace intrigue in overdrive with benedict xvi leaving, who will take over the vatican until a new pope is elected? an administrator that deals with fi n fi nans, portrayed as an evil master power broker. in real life, the title is held by a powerful position of secretary of state who in the vatican is like a prime minister. experts say don't get the idea that bertoni is the face of a legend. >> he's not the best organizer? >> no. the joke in rome is he couldn't organize a one-man band. >> michael shawn winters says bertoni was damaged in the scandal when mismanaged and corruption was leaked. despite his current status, he has no shot of becoming pope. analysts say he's also a
to pope benedict's decision to quit. senior international correspondent ben wedeman joins me from rome. ben, the vatican is suggesting that this is an attempt to influence cardinals who will choose the next pope. first, where did this story come from? >> reporter: this is from a newspaper that is claiming that on december 17 a commission of three cardinals who had been charged by the pope with investigating wrong did doing within the vatican submitted to the pope a 300-page red bound report on what, as you said, appears to be a network of gay priests being -- very windy here today -- being blackmailed by a network of male prostitutes in rome. now the vatican has come out very strongly saying that these reports are unverified, unverifiable, or completely false. now the worry is that somehow this report will affect the decision or the person who these popes elect. now we do know that there is pressure within the vatican to really clean up house, to sort of elect a new pope who will have the strength, the willpower, and the administrative ability to sort of put an end to a lot of the beha
weeks ago for his inauguration, the person who was supposed to give the benediction for his inauguration, louie giglio out of atlanta he had given an anti-gay sermon i think it was 10 or 15 years before, there was this controversy that surrounded that and he ended up pulling out of what is really an honor for a religious leader and instead it was a local episcopal minister from st. john's episcopal church just across lafayette park from the white house who ended up giving the benediction. it's fascinating as you see these controversies that pop up at the moments where sort of politics and religion sort of come in close proximity to each other. >> what do we expect then to hear from the president? our last couple of minutes as we wait for him to come to the podium, we'll see him when ben carson wraps up his remarks. many presidents have come to give their remarks since eisenhower forward. what do they use the platform for? what's the point? >> reporter: it depends. last year it seemed very obvious that he was courting some evangelical voters as he has done over the year and that was an ar
today. a spokesman says the cardinals who will choose a successor to pope benedict xvi could meet sooner than first planned. the vatican says the date could move up with all the cardinals are in rome. 117 cardinals, 67 appointed by pope benedict himself, will choose his replacement after he steps down on february 28th. >>> in california, authorities say it appears cop killer christopher dorner took his own life, making good on his vow he would not be taken alive. autopsy results show dorner died from a single gunshot wound to the head. dental records confirm the body found in the basement of that burned out cabin was dorner's. more on that week-long manhunt and who gets the million-dollar reward. >>> half a world away, authorities are investigating the murder of a top model found dead valentine's day at the home of her boyfriend, oscar pistorius. pistorius sobbed uncontrollably as he was charged with premeditated murder in the death of reeva steenkamp. charges that he denies. pistorius is in jail. family members say he is numb with grief and shock. steenkamp is starring in a reality show
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